Report: L.A. County Hospital Should Have State License Revoked
Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital should lose its state license because of repeated patient care violations, according to a report released Friday by the Department of Health Care Services, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The report comes one week after the department informed Los Angeles County officials that it was moving to revoke the hospital's license following federal patient care violations. The hospital since 2004 has failed to comply with federal minimum patient care standards.
The report highlighted findings from nine inspections between October 2004 and June 2007. State officials in the report claim the hospital has failed to ensure the competency of its nurses and the safety of its patients.
The hospital could remain open as it challenges the state's action to revoke its license, a process that could take at least one year.
A federal inspection in August will determine whether the hospital will maintain its certification and eligibility for federal funding.
Kathleen Billingsley, deputy director of DHCS, said the state can withdraw its attempt to revoke the license if the hospital demonstrates that it has corrected its problems (Ornstein, Los Angeles Times, 6/30).
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) on Saturday held a rally in Los Angeles to support King-Harbor hospital and keep the facility open, despite its recent violations, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Meanwhile, relatives of a patient who recently died at King-Harbor held a rally that called on county officials to fire or prosecute staff workers who ignored the patient as she sat on the floor of the emergency department lobby for 45 minutes without care.
Relatives of the patient said officials should fire or prosecute workers who ignored the patient, and at least two relatives called for the hospital to close (Engel, Los Angeles Times, 7/1).
"King-Harbor is on life support and has been for years," Robert Wachter, professor of medicine at UC-San Francisco, writes in a Times opinion piece. "Surely, the resources being poured into that one last change in the organization chart, one more consultant engagement or one more staffing surge could better be used to ramp up the capacity of other hospitals' ERs and clinics to absorb King-Harbor patients," Wachter writes.
"It is time to orchestrate a 'good death' -- to focus on healing the community and making plans to care for the patients of South L.A. once this hospital is gone," Wachter writes (Wachter, Los Angeles Times, 7/1).